[Please note: ACIM passages quoted in this article reference the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP) Edition.]
The Course says that we choose our life events
It is impossible that anything should come to me unbidden by myself. Even in this world, it is I who rule my destiny. What happens is what I desire. What does not occur is what I do not want to happen. This must I accept. (W-pII.253.1:1-5)
The Course also says that the Holy Spirit plans our life events
What could you not accept, if you but knew that everything that happens, all events, past, present and to come, are gently planned by One Whose only purpose is your good? (W-pI.135.18:1)
Remember that no one is where he is by accident, and chance plays no part in God’s plan. (M-9.1:3)
God’s planning is such that the truth is always within your reach
God is indeed your strength, and what He gives is truly given. This means that you can receive it any time and anywhere, wherever you are, and in whatever circumstance you find yourself. Your passage through time and space is not at random. You cannot but be in the right place at the right time. Such is the strength of God. Such are His gifts. (W-pI.42.2:1-6)
God plans for people to meet specifically because of a potential that exists between them
The plan includes very specific contacts to be made for each teacher of God. There are no accidents in salvation. Those who are to meet will meet, because together they have the potential for a holy relationship. They are ready for each other. (M-3.1:5-8)
There are specific lessons planned for each encounter, ones that can be learned right then
To the advanced teacher of God this question [“How should the teacher of God spend his day?”] is meaningless. There is no program, for the lessons change each day. Yet the teacher of God is sure of but one thing; they do not change at random. Seeing this and understanding that it is true, he rests content. He will be told all that his role should be, this day and every day. And those who share that role with him will find him, so they can learn the lessons for the day together. Not one is absent whom he needs; not one is sent without a learning goal already set, and one which can be learned that very day. (M-16.1:1-7)
Pictures of the lessons being learned
The simplest level of teaching appears to be quite superficial. It consists of what seem to be very casual encounters; a “chance” meeting of two apparent strangers in an elevator, a child who is not looking where he is going running into an adult “by chance,” two students “happening” to walk home together. These are not chance encounters. Each of them has the potential for becoming a teaching-learning situation. Perhaps the seeming strangers in the elevator will smile to one another, perhaps the adult will not scold the child for bumping into him; perhaps the students will become friends. Even at the level of the most casual encounter, it is possible for two people to lose sight of separate interests, if only for a moment. That moment will be enough. Salvation has come. (M-3.2)
Implications of the fact that no one has been sent by accident
One rule should always be observed: No one should be turned away because he cannot pay. No one is sent by accident to anyone. Relationships are always purposeful. Whatever their purpose may have been before the Holy Spirit entered them, they are always His potential temple; the resting place of Christ and home of God Himself. Whoever comes has been sent. Perhaps he was sent to give his brother the money he needed. Both will be blessed thereby. Perhaps he was sent to teach the therapist how much he needs forgiveness, and how valueless is money in comparison. Again will both be blessed. (P-3.III.6:1-9)
In each situation He lays a different choice, which will lead you out of your self-caused pain
Trials are but lessons that you failed to learn presented once again, so where you made a faulty choice before you now can make a better one, and thus escape all pain that what you chose before has brought to you. In every difficulty, all distress, and each perplexity Christ calls to you and gently says, “My brother, choose again.” (T-31.VIII.3:1-2)
In each meeting lies a holy potential, represented by the silent presence of Jesus
When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself. As you think of him you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself. Whenever two Sons of God meet, they are given another chance at salvation. Do not leave anyone without giving salvation to him and receiving it yourself. For I am always there with you, in remembrance of you. (T-8.III.4)
The Holy Spirit does not arrange situations so that the outer events can press pain and suffering onto us. In each situation, rather than arranging the outer difficulty, He has placed an inner gift, a gift which is usually only a potential, but a gift that is calculated to be within our reach. This gift is the antidote to all the pain and suffering we injected into the situation. It is the way out. The Holy Spirit stands in the situation and whispers to us, telling us how to lay hold of this gift. He tells us to make a different choice than we made in the past. He tells us to choose to see things differently. When we make this choice, we experience His gift and are released from our self-caused pain.
Examples of how to access this hidden potential
It is particularly helpful to apply [today’s idea] silently to anyone you meet, using his name as
you do so. (W-pI.37.6:2)
To everyone you meet, and to the ones you think of or remember from the past, allow the role of savior to be given, that you may share it with him. For you both…we pray: Let miracles replace all grievances. (W-pI.78.10:3-5)
To everyone you meet today, be sure to give the promise of today’s idea and tell him
You are one Self with me, united with our Creator in this Self.
I honor you because of What I am, and What He is, Who loves us both as one. (W-pI.95.15:2-4)
Think of some casual encounter you had today, some interaction with someone that you didn’t think much about either before, during, or after. Get a picture of the encounter in your mind.
Now realize that this was not a casual encounter.
It was not a chance encounter.
The two of you were arranged to meet by the Holy Spirit.
He saw some readiness in the two of you,
a readiness for something holy to pass between you.
He saw this as a potential holy encounter.
Picture the meeting happening again and see yourself in the situation reminding yourself:
“As I see him (or her), I will see myself.
As I treat him, I will treat myself.
As I think of him, I will think of myself.
In him, right now, I will find myself or lose myself.
We are two Sons of God meeting and being given another chance at salvation.”
“Even at the level of this casual encounter,
it is possible for us to lose sight of separate interests, if only for a moment.
That moment will be enough for salvation to come.”
Now realize that Jesus is there with you
silently standing for the choice that will reveal your Self to you,
silently whispering, “My brother, choose again.”
How does this make you feel about the encounter?
How does it make you feel about the other person?
Do you see the person any differently than you did the first time around?
Watch yourself in your mind’s eye.
Do you behave any differently than you did the first time?
What do you say? What do you do?
How does the other person respond?
Does it feel like salvation has come?
Spanish Translation “¿Planifica el Espíritu Santo los Eventos de Nuestras Vidas?“